MTA To Pilot A.M. Bronx 4 Train Express Service

Earlier this afternoon, MTA New York City Transit announced their plans to pilot express service in the Bronx on downtown 4 Train trains for the A.M. rush. The service will run for three weeks & last for one hour during the morning rush. Here are the complete details via a press release that was e-mailed by the MTA:

MTA New York City Transit is set to begin a pilot program aimed at shortening travel times along the 4 Line with the creation of a new Bronx Express 4 service between Woodlawn and 149th Street-Grand Concourse. The enhanced service will operate for a one-hour period during the weekday morning rush.

The pilot will begin June 8th and run through June 26th and be comprised of four trains within a one-hour period during the morning rush. The Bronx Express trains are scheduled to depart weekdays from Woodlawn at 7:15 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. After leaving Woodlawn, the Bronx Express 4 will make a station stop at Mosholu Parkway before switching to the middle track and heading to Burnside Avenue. From Burnside, the train will make its final Bronx station stop at 149th Street before making all regular express stops along the 4.

Customers boarding at Mosholu Parkway and Burnside Avenue will be alerted to the Bronx Express 4 by conductors’ announcements. Customers are being informed of the pilot through the distribution of take-ones printed in English and Spanish, as well as informational posters.

“The idea for this pilot is directly attributable to the Line General Managers program and it illustrates the types of innovations made possible when you have people running the railroad directly. David Knights, Group General Manager of IRT East and 4 Line General Manager Herb Lambert were looking to speed travel along a route that has been traditionally local in the Bronx,” said New York City Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “Signal improvements and the continued mechanical reliability of the car fleet have allowed them to try new ways of improving service.”

“By skipping nine stations, the Bronx Express 4 is expected to shave about 3.5 minutes off the 20 to 21 minutes scheduled running time between Woodlawn and 149th Street-Grand Concourse during the height of the a.m. peak. This is a significant time saving when you are headed out to work in the morning,” said IRT East Group General Manager Knights. “This pilot will determine the feasibility of bringing Jerome Avenue service in line with the Concourse, White Plains Road and Pelham Bay corridors by offering an express service to morning commuters.”

This pilot is possible because of the recent upgrades made to the center track signaling system within the 2005-2009 Capital Program. The signal job called for the installation of intermediate signals along the stretch of elevated track between Woodlawn and 161st Street. As a result of the project, we now have a greater flexibility of use with the middle track and can send trains in passenger service as well as work trains up or down the middle track. In the event of a disruption in service or track maintenance, we can also reroute trains onto the middle track. Similar signaling systems, allowing express service, are in place on the Flushing and White Plains Road Lines among others that have three tracks.

The results of the pilot will be evaluated after the completion of the three-week period and a decision will be made on whether to make this change permanent.

Customers may call our Travel Information Center at 718-330-1234 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, or log onto to use Trip Planner to plan their trips. Customers with web enabled phones or PDAs can use our Trip Planner On-the-Go! by going to; in addition to planning their trips, Blackberry users can download the free icon for one touch access to the service.

This should prove to be a very interesting pilot although I wonder if backlash will occur from riders at stops that will not be able to board these 4 Train trains. I am curious what the reaction will be from other transit buffs as service patterns are always a hot topic amongst us.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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I think it is such a great idea! Having time shaved off is a blessing! I guess commuters at the skipped stations should consider traveling to either Burnside or Mosholu to jump on the express trains. The local trains will be less crowded overall. Nice job!

I dont think this idea was well thought out. Its seems like a good idea to the people who get paid to sit in the thinking tank and make the decisions for other people. How ever when you actually put the idea into play there is going to be many problems which include and are not limited to chaos, over crowding. its going to be total state of confusion and anarchy with all these people crowed in these stations.Is the MTA going to run extra buses to accommodate the strap hangers that now have to go out of their way in the morning to get to one of these stations?? The bottom line is this idea is HORRIBLE and will not work. If you are a true blue New Yorker and ride that iron horse everyday day in and day out to get to that 9 to 5 then you know that riding the subway in itself is a JOB. Why make it worse? Is the MTA that bored that they ran out of good ideas to implement? Then just let us know and us the New Yorkers will be more then happy to take over some of those high paying jobs they seem soo bored in!

It does seem strange that the MTA would design a service pattern having some trains skipping the busiest station in the Bronx (161 St), along with several others that are hardly quiet. It’s looking like a repeat of the Astoria Express, but they might have some less obvious reason for it.

Has anyone noticed the RIDICULOUS congestion during the times of this express service? It is a TERRIBLE idea! The local trains are more packed than ever. Prior to this, at least we could wait for the next train, which was right behind the current train. However, now we are forced to jam ourselves into an overcrowded local train because the next train is 5 minutes away! Meanwhile, those on the non-as-busy “express” stops save 2 minutes. Is it just me, or does this NOT make sense?!

When was the last time you rode the train from the north bronx? Having to pass so mant stops on an already crowded train with the influx of residents in the north bronx and the rise in westchester county subway coommuters. The express program should be expanded to all morning and all afternoon service like the 6. The north bronx population is on the rise and the MTA should keep up with the pace.

is it good because when i ride the 4 train it get crowed alot so if the 4 train was run express it will be a goood idea.

it is bad becaues when i ride the 4 local train,it get crowd alot.if the 4 train runs express it will be a great idea

Obviously, when the 4 train was first built there must’ve been some intention to have express service on the line since it’s a 3-track operation. Also, note how the Burnside Avenue and 149 St/Grand Concourse stations are designed with middle platforms.

I can’t believe that anyone would truly object to 4 express service. Ask anyone who rides the D, 5, and 6 trains how they’d feel about their commutes if their morning/evening rush hour express service was eliminated. Granted, we all have seen days when the local trains somehow beat the express trains, making us wonder what’s the point. But again, one would be foolish to allow that middle track to lay dormant on the 4 train. We’re now paying $2.25 for this service, therefore I think we all should get our money’s worth, even if it’s just shaving 2 minutes off our commute. Two minutes is still better than none!

[…] in June, MTA New York City Transit ran a pilot program which saw the creation of Brooklyn-bound A.M. express service on the in the Bronx. The program which lasted for 3 weeks will be lasting more than double that this go around as it […]

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